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Meat quality of Nguni, Bonsmara and Aberdeen Angus steers raised on natural pasture in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Muchenje, V., Dzama, K., Chimonyo, M., Raats, J.G., Strydom, P.E.
Meat science 2008 v.79 no.1 pp. 20-28
beef cattle, beef carcasses, cattle breeds, Bonsmara, Angus, steers, rearing, grazing, pastures, age at slaughter, slaughter weight, longissimus dorsi, rigor mortis, pH, drip loss, sarcomeres, electrical treatment, shear stress, shear strength, carcass weight, carcass yield, feed conversion, beef quality, texture, color, dressing percentage, breed differences, South Africa
The current study compared meat quality of Nguni, Bonsmara and Angus steers raised on natural pasture. Fifteen seven-month-old weaners of each breed were kept at the University of Fort Hare Farm for 12 months till slaughter. Monthly weights of the steers were recorded. Carcasses were electrically stimulated. The m. longissimus thoracis et lumborum was sampled for the measurement of meat colour, pH, drip loss, sarcomere length, myofibrillar fragmentation length and Warner Bratzler (WB) shear force. The Nguni had the highest (P <0.05) average daily gain. Bonsmara and Angus steers had higher (P <0.05) carcass weight and dressing percentage than the Nguni steers. Meat quality characteristics were similar among all the breeds except that Nguni meat was darker (L [low asterisk]) (P <0.05) than meat from the other two breeds. The respective L [low asterisk] values for Nguni, Bonsmara and Angus steers were 36.5, 38.6 and 39.9. There were significant (P <0.05) correlations among some meat quality traits. There were significant (P <0.05) correlations between WB values of meat aged for 2 and 21 days in Nguni and Bonsmara, but not in Angus. Meat quality from Nguni compares favourably with that from established breeds, when raised on natural pasture.